6 Sept 2007
Changing Faces(HKTDC Optical,2008)
|Fashionable sunglasses from Alliance Group (Holdings) Ltd such as this smart version with beautiful temples are exported to the US and Europe|
Hong Kong's manufacturers combine a wide range of decorative details and colourful coatings to create fashionable, fun eyewear
Believing in offering lots of choice, New Henry Optical Mfy Ltd has a line-up of more than 1,000 different styles of metal optical frames and sunglasses, in addition to catering to OEMs.
"Some 40% of our frames are metal, and an additional 20% are titanium," explains manager Eric Yip, adding that the titanium market is growing, particularly in Japan, Germany and the UK.
"We introduce 10-15 new models every six weeks and produce our own brands, Ynot and Paparazzi." These are made at the 11-year-old company's 500-worker factory in Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland.
"Monel and stainless steel are most in demand, as the price of nickel silver has increased," Yip explains. "Acetate temples with metal combinations have been popular for two years, and this demand should continue for 3-4 years more as they are easy to wear and long-lasting."
New Henry's biggest overall market is Asia, with Europe and the US also important. "Russia offers big future potential," adds Yip.
Rectangular shapes have continued their popularity in the first half of 2007, he says, adding that he believes oval shapes will be back in 2008. "This year, gold-coloured frames are popular, although gunmetal, black and satin silver are also in demand."
FOB Hong Kong unit prices range from US$6-11 for metal and US$13-36 for titanium for minimum orders of 400 pieces delivered about 100 days after order confirmation.
Ocean Optical Mfg Co concentrates on metal, combination, and handmade sunglasses and frames, producing 45,000-50,000 pieces per month at its 300-worker factory in Dongguan.
"We offer hundreds of fashionable metal frames for the medium- to high-end market, as well as producing OEM orders," explains director Thomas Ng. "Every month, we introduce up to 50 new metal styles."
Stainless steel, Monel and nickel silver are the most popular materials, offering durability and easy shaping. "Our metal frames feature simple decorations or combinations such as metal temples with acetate frames," notes Ng.
"Round frames are the most popular, and large sunglasses are still very much in vogue."
Silver, gunmetal and black remain the colours in demand for men, while gold, matt-gold and bronze are women's favourites, Ng adds.
Ocean Optical's metal frames range in price from US$6 FOB Hong Kong for a pair of Monel sunglasses with PC lenses up to US$20 for a fancy metal style with nylon lenses. Minimum order is 400 pieces per style in three colours, delivered 6-8 weeks after order confirmation.
Europe is the company's leading market, with the US, Turkey, Chile and Japan other important destinations.
AZU Concept Ltd produces more than 10,000 frames per month at its 100-worker factory in Shenzhen. "We offer more than 100 models and have our own AZUOO brand, as well as catering to OEM and ODM orders," explains marketing manager Wallace Chan. "More than 80% of our frames are metal using mainly stainless steel as well as Monel."
Chan says more than 95% of the company's metal frames have 100%-handmade silicone rubber temples, which he claims no other manufacturers in China are currently producing. "This produces a frame that is very comfortable, colourful, non-toxic and not harmful to the environment," he states.
The trend for metal frames is for colourful temples, notes Chan. "We produce two-tone colour layers and one-tone, and logos are formed in the moulding process. Most of our customers opt for two-tone, and we offer 40-60 colour choices."
Unit prices average US$7-10 FOB Hong Kong per pair depending on style, material and colour for minimum orders of 200 pieces per style delivered 60-75 days after order confirmation.
"Europe and Asia are our biggest markets, although we export worldwide, except for the US," Chan adds.
Producing a plethora of some 800 models of metal and combination frames, ISO 9001-certified Wing Fung Optical Mfy Ltd manufactures up to 280,000 pieces per month at its 1,300-worker factory in Shenzhen.
Some 35% of the company's metal frames are sunglasses, and 65% are optical, offering stainless steel, pure titanium, combination and rimless styles, as well as injection and handmade acetate frames.
Wing Fung's most popular metal materials are Monel wire and stainless steel sheet. "Customers like Monel for its weight and the variety of shapes it can produce, and it is the most traditional material used for optical frames and sunglasses," explains business development director Raymond Chan. "Stainless steel is popular because of its lightness, flexibility and strength."
He notes that unisex oval or square shapes are in high demand, but adds that styles are continually changing. "For men, fashionable colours are gunmetal, dark brown and shiny black, while for women it's burgundy, light gold and silver."
Customers are opting for big, modern sunglasses with crystal stones, combined with laser or metal logos, Chan observes. "Aviator sunglasses continue to be popular, as is colourful patterned acetate in fancy designs."
He adds that combination frames are also in demand. "We produce a variety of designs, such as stainless steel fronts with acetate temples or acetate fronts with metal temples."
Wing Fung's unit prices range from US$8-15 FOB Hong Kong for a minimum order of 500 pieces per style delivered about 90 days after order confirmation.
Europe and the US are the company's largest markets, with other exports going to the Middle East, South America and Asia.
But wherever the market, Hong Kong manufacturers are staying ahead of the trends to frame faces worldwide in the latest fashions.
TEXT BY SANDRA JENNER
Diamond Optical Mfy Ltd
Rm 1211, Hewlett Centre
54 Hoi Yuen Rd
Kwun Tong, Kowloon
New Henry Optical Mfy Ltd
Suite 1327, Blk 1
Golden Ind Bldg
16-26 Kwai Tak St
Kwai Chung, New Territories